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An inside tip on using information technology to boost internal communication and organization.

While a nonprofit organization is growing, communication becomes complicated and problems can arise quickly. Efficient systems and methods need to be put in place ASAP to prevent any potential bumps in the road, because we all know that they’re going to happen anyway.

According to Florent Fenault, managing an NPO during its growth period means asking two very important questions:

  • What is the most efficient way to exchange information between both co-workers and managers?
  • How can management coordinate individual tasks and stay up to date on what everyone is doing?

Mr. Fenault is the technical director of l’ALEC 27 (l’Agence Local de l’Energie et du Climat), a nonprofit organization that provides advice and resources for individuals and companies that are looking to transition to clean energy and energy saving solutions. There, he manages a team of ten awesome employees that are totally focused on helping clean up the world (or at least France).

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So Florent, why did you look to Social Task Management for your nonprofit?

Our initial problem was that our organization grew very quickly. Last year, there were five full time employees and now there are thirteen.

About a year and a half ago, I began looking for the best solution to solve our communication issues. I went through between 10 and 15 different tools but had trouble finding something that was easy to use for first-timers and offered more in-depth functions for advanced users. Eventually, I heard about Azendoo and noticed right away that it fit our needs.

First, I tested the app alone for two months, and then I tried it with a test group. During the test, everyone else noticed how well it was working and how much more productive the test group was, so they joined in. Before long, all thirteen employees were using Azendoo without even needing to officially “implement” the application.

Related Article: “3 Reasons Why Nonprofits Need Social Task Management”

Now that everyone is onboard, how did you structure your app?

Our nonprofit is organized into three “poles”. A pole is like a department or group of co-workers that focus on specific aspects of our missions. So, in Azendoo, we created four workspaces, one for each pole and another for the entire organization.

In each pole’s workspace, members are free to create as many subjects as they like depending on their work and how they want to get organized. The only thing that we ask, is that every time someone creates a new subject, they add me (the technical director) as a member so that I can coordinate our efforts (project workload) and can access whatever information is being shared in the subject. That way, I can have a global view of what’s going on.

Can you give us an example?

Sure, I have two needs when it comes to the way I use Azendoo;

  • My personal task management
  • My role as manager

Both are very distinct and require different actions in the application.

Firstly, I’m constantly adding information and tasks to my Azendoo Planner. Taking care of my personal tasks means that each time I have something new to do, I automatically create a task in Azendoo.

For example, after a meeting, I’ll create new tasks right away, depending on the things that were discussed. Plus, I’ll tag the tasks to subjects and co-workers that need stay in the loop so that they can contribute to what I’m working on. That’s the way that I manage my personal tasks.

The second way I use Azendoo is for my team’s workload management. I literally use the co-worker profiles at the bottom of the left column all the time.

Basically, once a week, I check my colleague’s profiles and see what tasks they’ve completed, and what they still have to do. Then, depending on their workload, I’ll assign them new tasks and comment on whatever’s in progress.

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We really want everyone to be independent when it comes to managing his or her workload. They know their job and what needs to be done, but at the same time, it’s important for management to be up to speed on what’s happening without having to ask for updates or hold weekly meetings.

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Thanks to the global view that I have over the team, I can link together individuals with tasks and projects depending on who’s doing what. That means that everyone can manage their work however they see fit, and I can just supervise a projects progress.

Azendoo lets me get immediate feedback as soon as a task is finished. That means that I even know about the  little things that could impact what I’m working on, which is essentially constant feedback about how a project is going. That is something precious for our management team.

Thank you Florent for taking the time to chat with us! Keep on being awesome, and talk to you soon.

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